Mom and Dad (Al and Lynn Ratliff) arrived out
there Wednesday afternoon and I got a message on my phone to bring out the plow.
We arrived later Wednesday night. The moon was full that evening and the snow
that covered the higher elevations of the hills surrounding the Morongo Valley
made for an interesting view on our trip to the club.
dawned clear and it promised to be a warm day. After installing #5's pilot plow
on the #8, (my Allen 2-6-0 has been down ten years now) a doubled Kozo Hiesler.
My brother Greg, the machinist, made quick work of figuring out an adapter from
one pilot beam to the other. In short time a full head of steam was achieved and
a run to clear the line was undertaken. A lot of the 12 to 18 inches of snow
that fell last weekend had melted away, but up to 8 inches remained in the cuts
and shaded spots around the grounds. All movements of #8 were well documented by
the rail fans on site (Greg and Dad). The upper loop was cleared with a few
attempts, as bucking snow gets it's name. The straight section behind the patio
was about 5 to 7 inches deep in spots and you certainly had to use some throttle
to get through it, even though it is a two and a half percent downgrade in that
area. After breaks in the action to allow film reloading the station clearing
commenced. The snow on the shady side of the station was the deepest, about 8
inches over the rails. After quite a few runs at the blockage, paths were
cleared on both outer tracks, leaving the center track for later. Greg got the
throttle for the high line job, only snow left there was before the bridge but
it was plenty deep. And the grade there is four percent tapering off to two and
a half . Dad actually ran the Heisler to clear the center track of the station.
He said regarding the plow, I've got get one of these on my next engine.
Joel Tedder said
you couldn't buck snow with a 7-1/2" gauge engine. I'm happy to report he was
mistaken. It was a blast. It's been 24 years since the track had been
started out there and it was worth the wait to clear the line with a snow plow
on the 7 1/2".
We'll be keeping
the plow on #8 through the winter just in case.
Written by Brian
Al Ratliff getting in pretty deep.